Ad valorem assessment of real property represents one of the longest surviving mechanisms for securing government revenue and still represents an important component of taxation collections across both developed and developing countries.Its acceptance and longevity reflects its relative simplicity, rationality and perceived equity. While these fundamentals remain, the nature and complexity of many contemporary property assets and the density of development, particularly in urban areas, present challenges to the statutory valuation processes. It has been necessary in some jurisdictions to significantly amend and adapted legislation and practice to accommodate a demonstrably different economic, community, environmental and political context.

This paper describes the nature of this new environment and how it impacts on the way in which statutory valuations are performed and are applied. It draws on case study examples from Australia where in some jurisdictions, quite radical changes have been necessary to ensure the sustainability of and confidence in these systems.

The paper suggests that there are a number of key characteristics and initiatives that assists in this evolutionary process though also alerts that there are some fundamental challenges to this form of assessment and taxation that now need to be addressed in a comprehensive and strategic way.

The work is based on a literature/legislative study and specific investigations and structured interviews, drawn principally from examples in Queensland, other Australian States and New Zealand.

A number of findings will be relevant to other jurisdictions that rely, at least in part, on taxation basis on the assessment of property value.